Many in the legal profession have likely heard something about artificial intelligence (AI) by now. But in this nascent stage of a game-changing technology, most lawyers (along with lots of other professionals) are just starting to explore how AI can benefit them and their firms.
The immediate value of AI is the automation of complex tasks so that they’re done more efficiently and with better results every time. While the skills and specializations of practicing law are hard-learned and of high value, there are aspects to running a legal function that are ripe for what AI can do. Procurement, an ongoing challenge for general counsels (GCs), is one of those.
Most large corporations already work with the best-known law firms; it takes excellent legal support to get to that level of growth. But a company’s go-to firm may not be the best solution for every business need. With the burdensome process of scoping new requirements, creating and issuing RFPs, then finding and sourcing new providers, it’s often easier just to stick with incumbents, even if they may not be the best match for a new requirement or type of project. This is where AI can really make an impact.
At Globality, we’re applying AI to upend the traditional method of sourcing legal and other B2B services, providing an alternative approach that quickly matches GCs to the best service providers at the right price for every project.
For example, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, one of the ten largest law firms in Germany, is well positioned to help international enterprises that want to enter or acquire in the German market. That’s expertise that home-country firms just wouldn’t have. Luther traditionally spent large amounts of time responding to cumbersome RFPs, but Globality’s AI-based solution helps potential customers find the firm more easily; Luther is able to present a legal framework that first helps clients better understand what services they need and then engage accordingly with clients it can truly help. This saves the client and the provider time, frustration, and expense.
Axis Law Chambers in Pakistan offers another great example. Given its location, Axis finds that many clients aren’t sure of the regulatory regime when entering the region. Through the Globality platform, GCs seeking legal assistance in Pakistan can be matched to Axis to take advantage of its specialized expertise. That’s particularly useful for getting insider know-how on things like how long it takes to process an application or the timeline for a court process in Pakistan. Because the Globality platform helps Axis share information with the client throughout the entire process, its clients never feel blindsided or unprepared when obstacles crop up.
There are multiple levels of value for GCs in the Globality approach. First, identifying the best outside counsel for any particular engagement is much faster and more efficient. With specificity, thoroughness, and quality of information about the pool of available providers—wherever they may be in the world—GCs can far more quickly and efficiently source the right help while eliminating the costly and onerous RFP process.
There is also the benefit of saving money on legal fees, because GCs will be able to compare and contrast the best lawyers for a particular engagement and mine data about them to drive down costs. Perhaps most importantly, GCs end up with a better result, because the best lawyer for any given case will be engaged.
This is not to suggest that the large incumbent firms a company currently uses should or will be tossed aside. In fact, as providers, they may in turn make advantageous use of the Globality platform. But one firm cannot excel in everything. Take commercial litigation, for example. In my own prior experience as a GC, my employer was a defendant in commercial litigation. Our first time in court, using our established counsel, we had a hung jury. Upon retrial, with a different, specialized attorney, we won. The attorney was the only differing factor. Any GC with a few years in the role has likely had a similar experience.
The service providers also benefit by saving the effort of responding to RFPs they know they’re unlikely to win because they’re not really the best fit for a requirement. And they’ll be more readily considered for other new opportunities to which they may be matched. It’s a win-win all the way around.
In reality, AI presents a revolutionary opportunity to disrupt the highly traditional domain of legal services, where buyer–provider relationships are often based on years of building trust. While new technology won’t ever negate or replace those relationships, as GCs give considered weight to suggested new providers who match their needs exactly, AI offers the potential to break the mold and improve the playing field for them and providers alike.
Bill Brooks is GM of Legal Sector at Globality.